Sharks are the most commonly feared oceanic predators. Contact with humans usually results in injury or even death. When people enter oceans they are in the sharks’ habitat, and the shark usually wins. What can we do to survive a shark attack?
The first and most important thing to remember when it comes to the question of how to survive a shark attack is also the most difficult concept to actually put into practice. To survive a shark attack, the victim must stay as calm as possible. Yes, that might seem impossible, but if you are ever in the situation, try and remember that a shark does not attack a human for food.
When a shark attacks a human it is most commonly for exploratory purposes. Sharks have no hands, and use their sensitive mouths to figure out what the strange object with a pulse is in their turf. Unfortunately for humans, our flesh is very tender and easily ripped by even the lightest graze of their razor mouths.
If the victim of a shark attack starts to thrash around wildly, the shark might get confused and figure that this is prey that is trying to get away, and then attack with more force to subdue it. This is why staying calm is key to survive a shark attack. If the victim stays calm and assertive, it is commonly known that all these shark attacks end after just the first (albeit devastating) bite.
Another common reason it is believed sharks attack is mistaking humans for their common prey items. Because a surfer on a board looks like a seal when looked up from underwater, they are usually victims of these cases of mistaken identity.
In these cases of shark attack, where the animal is past exploration and already thinks the victim might be prey, it is extra important to stay calm. If a struck surfer starts to panic, the chances of surviving a shark attack are slim to none. On the other hand, if the victim stays calm and tries to swim to shore, the shark will not get overly excited and probably realize its mistake. It is common that after a shark attacks, it swims away unless it is particularly angered or excited by something the victim is doing.
To survive a shark attack the importance of staying calm is visceral because once in a panicked state not only might the victim excite the shark, they will not be thinking clearly. Many shark attack survivors have gone on to state how they saved themselves, and it is usually all thanks to common sense which is at a minimum when panicking. Surfers using their boards to act as a shield, hitting a biting shark in the eyes or gills, and even holding on to their tails have been reported as ways to survive a shark attack.
One good thing to keep in mind when entering the oceans is that the chances of being attacked by a shark are less than the odds of getting hit by lighting. That is one more reason to stay calm and aware in their habitat, and survive any encounters with a happy ending.